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Dissolution of a civil partnership

If your relationship has reached breaking point and you are contemplating dissolution proceedings, knowing where to start can be a minefield.

Our team of family law solicitors have considerable experience in advising clients about civil partnership dissolution and will guide you every step of the way.

Contact us

For more information and to make an appointment at our Southampton office please contact Debra Emery.

For Richmond and City appointments please contact Jan Galloway.

Grounds for dissolution of a civil partnership

The Civil Partnership Act came into force on 5 December 2005. The process to dissolve a civil partnership is similar to getting a divorce. You need to show the court that you have been in a civil partnership for longer than a year and prove to the court that your civil partnership has irretrievably broken down by satisfying one of these four grounds:

  • Unreasonable behaviour

  • Two years' separation by consent

  • Five years' separation without consent

  • Desertion for two years or more

Stages for dissolving a civil partnership

The petitioner files a petition for the dissolution of the civil partnership together with a statement of reconciliation (a pro-forma form your solicitor will complete). The court will then send by post a sealed copy of the petition together with the acknowledgement of service to the respondent.

Once the acknowledgement is completed by the respondent, as long as there is no intention to defend, their role in this process comes to an end. The petitioner then needs to file a statement in support of the petition and ask the court to grant the first order within the dissolution process, being a 'conditional order'.

The petitioner can apply for a 'final order' after six weeks and a day.

How long does it take to get a dissolution of a civil partnership?

It can take between 18 and 24 weeks to secure the dissolution of a civil partnership, depending upon the court in which the proceedings are issued and the availability of court time.

What are the court fees for getting a dissolution?

For all petitions issued after 1 July 2013, the court fee is £410. This includes the fee for the final order dissolving the civil partnership.

Can the courts deal with your dissolution; do they have jurisdiction?

It is important to ensure that the courts in England and Wales are able, as a matter of law, to deal with your dissolution petition. This is called 'having jurisdiction'.

The usual basis upon which to satisfy jurisdiction is that both parties are habitually resident in England and Wales. Matters get more complicated if this cannot be established and in the main thereafter, you have to satisfy jurisdiction on the basis of being habitually resident in England and Wales and residing here for a period of at least one year.

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